The annual World Marriage Day celebration at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels marked an occasion for Archbishop José Gomez to reiterate the Church’s unfailing support for marriage and family.

“The times that we are living demand from us to proclaim the dignity of the human person, the sacredness of the institution of marriage and the blessing of the family,” the archbishop declared in his homily Feb. 12.

“Marriage, in every culture and every age, has been recognized as the lifelong union of a man and woman for their own well-being and for the creation and nurturing of children,” he said. “Marriage is the foundation of society.”

The celebration drew large turnouts for both the 10 a.m. (English) and 12:30 p.m. (Spanish, with Auxiliary Bishop Alexander Salazar presiding) liturgies at the Cathedral, at which couples celebrating significant milestone anniversaries of marriage --- 25, 50, 60 or more --- were honored. Some couples in attendance will mark 70 or more years of marriage in 2012. 

World Marriage Day, organized by Worldwide Marriage Encounter, began in Baton Rouge, La., in 1981, when couples encouraged the mayor, governor and bishop to proclaim St. Valentine’s Day as "We Believe In Marriage Day.” The event’s success led to the idea being presented to and adopted by Worldwide Marriage Encounter's National Leadership.

In 1983, the name was changed to "World Marriage Day,” and in 1993 Pope John Paul II imparted his apostolic blessings on World Marriage Day. “It is a day,” said Archbishop Gomez, “when we especially pray for the institution of Marriage and honors the vocation of husband and wife. 

“As Pope Benedict XVI said: ‘In the Holy Family of Nazareth we are given the true model of a Christian home.’ Let us resolve to make our own homes radiate with Christ’s loving harmony and peace.”

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